Daily Archives: December 12, 2014

Beast Audiobook by Allison Cassatta and Tracey Michael Narrated by KC Kelly

Dreamspinner Presents: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5874

beastBlurb

Ara Costas has it all—riches, power, and the kind of beauty that attracts all the right people. He’s flying high and loves his life, until a serious car accident leaves him horribly scarred. Ara becomes an angry recluse, hiding away in his Chicago high-rise apartment, running his multimillion-dollar business from behind a computer screen.

Ilias Adams is a quiet farm boy who keeps his nose buried in books. A great education and stellar resume land him a job as Ara’s assistant and liaison to the board of directors. Little did he know when he signed up for this dream job that he’d end up working for the world’s moodiest, most uptight boss.

Ilias is scared of Ara at times, but he recognizes the challenge he faces when he meets Ara and sees the reason for the man’s anger. Ara is guarded and suspicious, since he can’t believe anyone can bear to look at him. Despite all this, Ilias is determined to turn the beast into a beauty again, at least on the inside, and tear down the walls Ara has so carefully constructed around him.

 

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Review

So, everyone knows the story of Beauty and the Beast, right? Well, imagine that in modern times, with two men and you have the essential storyline for Beast.

Ara was a vain, douche-bag. Mean, cocky, self-centered. He gets mutilated in a car accident and now can’t stand the sight of himself. He’s still so vain and self-centered that he’s kept himself locked away in his apartment for the last seven years running his father’s company.

Ilias is a farm boy who just graduated from business school. He’s trying to prove to his father that he can make it in the city and that his education was worth leaving the farm for. He applies for and is accepted as Ara’s assistant and “front man”. The face that will be presented to the board in Ara’s stead.

Ara is known to go through assistant’s like water due to his strict rules and contrary nature, but something clicks between him and Ilias and before they know it, they have moved from employee/employer to friend and then to lover.

**

The story actually moves the couple together in a relatively short time, but it takes many pages for them to even touch. We get to see both POVs in most circumstances so we really get an in depth appreciation of what each is feeling.

Ara is deeply scarred by his experience and needs so much personal growth to get to the point where he can appreciate that beauty is only skin deep.

Ilias has his own insecurities, but for the most part he is our savior in this story, dragging Ara along into the light of self awareness.

The authors have done an excellent job of following the old fairy tale but modernizing it and making it gay. I really enjoyed the care and depth of the characters, including the secondary characters that was taken.

Though Ara’s weaknesses proved tiring, especially toward the end, Ilias really pulled the story together and kept me invested in the couple.  I adored his character and really felt that he and Ara made a great couple.

The narration by KC Kelly is practically perfect. He does such an excellent job with changing characters voices and giving real emotion to the story. I felt his accent for Ara was more Russian than Greek, but I’m no linguist! In any case it felt “erupoean” and absolutely worked!

I would absolutely recommend listening to this more than reading simply because KC Kelly does so much for the story.

I highly recommend this story and audiobook and give both 5 of 5 hearts.

5

Fighting instincts by Mary Calmes

Dreamspinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5769

FightingInstinct

Blurb

L’Ange: Book Two

Only a privileged few know L’Ange’s head of security Arman de Soto is a shifter, and even fewer know he’s been systematically killing off a pack of werewolves. The reason for this vengeance is a secret Arman trusts with no one, quite the opposite of his obvious longtime pursuit of the château’s overseer, Linus Hobbes. Despite Arman’s reputation as a loner, the only thing he needs to complete his life is Linus. Predator and prey just don’t mix—but Arman won’t give him up.

Linus has lived alone for more than seven years, sheltered at L’Ange under an assumed name and hiding secrets of his own, including his terrifying attraction to the most dangerous man he’s ever met. Arman knows Linus should be afraid of the predator stalking him, but Linus is still drawn to him like a moth to a flame, no matter how much he tries to deny his instincts. It’s not until Linus’s past and Arman’s crusade exposes their secrets and opens L’Ange to attack that Arman realizes waiting any longer is a risk he just can’t take. So he’ll have to take his quest to the source of the threat in a gamble to protect L’Ange, Linus, and any future they might have together.

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Review
We met Arman in Old Loyalty, New Love. He was the mysterious bodyguard who helped protect Roman and Quade. Though we were led to believe he was interested in a certain jackal named Tucker, we find out quickly that this was a red-herring, serving to stir jealousy in the heart of Linus.

Linus is the fastidious and cold caretaker of L’Ange. It’s clear he’s been abused in his past and we learn early on just how terrible that abuse was. Arman has been Linus’ protector and often his touchstone for years, but the time has come for that relationship to develop to its full potential and Arman isn’t waiting any longer.

Arman is a man of mystery. We don’t know what he is, though we all think he must be a shifter – it isn’t until quite a bit into the story that we figure out just what he is. (I think everyone will be surprised by the reveal!)

In addition to hiding who he is, he also hides what he does. We find out that he has an agenda- a vendetta really – of epic proportions. This vendetta makes him almost an anti-hero. He’s definitely not the typical perfect Alpha we have seen in other Mary Calmes’ stories. He’s got a dark side that he’s embraced fully.

Surprisingly, Linus is perfectly okay with this dark side and in fact, he too embraces the vendetta and we see some pretty significant changes in his personality as a result of this.

One of the things I really liked about this story was that Linus and Arman get together pretty early on. They work as a team for most of the story and it was imminently satisfying to watch their relationship grow and deepen while they worked together.

Though it might seem a bit blood-thirsty, the vendetta is explained really well and at no time did I feel that there was any other possible course of action than that which Arman took.

I really felt that in this “universe” the animal natures of the shifters were really well developed and “authentic”. These aren’t people who just happen to have the occasional “furry power” thrown in to explain insta-love and mating. They are truly unique beings with a different set of rules and personalities.

I loved that Roman wasn’t quite on board with the vendetta. Sure, he loves Linus and despised what happened to him, but he wasn’t born a shifter and he still sees things through a human lens and judges by a different rule-book.

Mary Calmes is amazing at world building and her shifter universe is unique, creative and very well developed. She isn’t afraid to stray from typical “shifter” lore and she draws us in with her own clever style.

The chemistry between Arman and Linus is scorching hot. Mary writes excellent sex scenes and the sexual tension and it’s subsequent release is phenomenal in Fighting Instinct.

I can’t wait to see what happens between Jon and Kelvin and hope to see book three in the very near future!

Though it isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last time I say it – I love Mary Calmes’ books and I highly recommend them all.

I give this 6 of 5 hearts

amazing